Search
Facebook Twitter Our Blog
The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
24 HOUR ANSWERING | 847-394-3200
SERVICE

1855 Rohlwing Road, Suite D, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

24 HOUR ANSWERING SERVICE

Archive for the ‘marijuana laws’ tag

Law Against Driving While High On Marijuana Changed

September 15th, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Law Against Driving While High On Marijuana ChangedUntil recently, it was illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana, regardless of how much marijuana was in your system. Illinois law used to employ a zero tolerance approach when it came to driving under the influence of marijuana. Specifically, if any amount of marijuana was detected in the suspected drugged driver’s system, the driver could be charged with a marijuana DUI. But the recent passage of Illinois bill SB2228 changes things and puts a measurable limit on when an Illinois driver is too high to drive.

Under the old law, prosecutors were not required to demonstrate that the driver was actually intoxicated by marijuana at the time of their DUI arrest, according to a recent article in the Pekin Daily Times. Instead, the prosecution only had to show that marijuana, even in trace amounts, was detected in the driver’s system. A blood test could be used to analyze a blood sample for any trace of THC, which is the active psychoactive chemical ingredient in marijuana.

A Zero Tolerance Policy Is Patently Unfair

The old law was strikingly unfair since it failed to require proof that the driver was actually under the influence of marijuana to such a degree that the intoxication impacted the driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. The old law could place a person who was merely in contact with marijuana smoke in violation of the state’s marijuana DUI laws, even though the person never actually inhaled more than second-hand marijuana smoke.

New Law Offers Measurable Legal Limit

The new law places a quantifiable measurement on when a person is considered to be under the influence of marijuana to such a degree that their driving ability is affected. Specifically, a person who has five nanograms of THC in their blood, when the blood sample is taken within two hours of a DUI arrest, is considered to be under the influence of marijuana and is not safe to drive a vehicle. With the enactment of the new marijuana DUI law, Illinois joins just four other states – Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – that have placed a measurable impairment level on marijuana.

Bill SB2228 Also Decriminalizes Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana

The new law also decriminalizes possession of small quantities of marijuana. Instead of being a criminal offense, possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is punishable as a civil infraction, meaning that offenders will merely be issued a ticket. The ticket ranges from between a fine of $100 and $200.

Facing A DUI? Contact A Rolling Meadows Drug Offenses Lawyer

Whether you are facing a DUI, a marijuana DUI, or drug charges, you need to speak to an experienced Rolling Meadows drug crimes lawyer as soon as feasible about your situation. These criminal charges are serious, and you need legal representation that can help you fight the charges that are pending against you.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=2228&GAID=13&DocTypeID=SB&SessionID=88&GA=99

http://www.pekintimes.com/news/20160804/marijuana-dui-law-changed-little-attorney-warns

Could Marijuana Possession be Decriminalized?

March 18th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

marijuana decriminalization, marijuana possession, Illinois criminal law, criminal defense, laweyr attorneyIn an effort to address the problem of ever-growing prison populations, a recent article reported that an Illinois lawmaker is proposing lower penalties for offenses involving small amounts of some drugs. The proposal includes decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession in favor of punishing the offense with a citation comparable to a traffic ticket.

The Proposal

The proposed change, coming from Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Democrat from Riverside, is part of a recent interest in realigning the criminal justice system in order to decrease the population of inmates in prisons across Illinois. He said his plan would also include lessening the penalty for possession of small amounts of other drugs, including heroin and cocaine. The proposal as it relates to marijuana would impart a $250.00 fine for the first such offense.

According to Zalewski, the plan would not only reduce prison populations, but would also lessen the burden for law enforcement labs to test substances related to criminal cases that may get dismissed anyway. He has been a recent advocate of a number of bills aimed at reducing sentences for certain criminal offenses, in spite of his previous efforts at tougher penalties for violations of gun control laws.

Committee Approval

Although the Judiciary Committee heard Zalewski’s proposals, they did not take a vote. Zalewski is beginning to gauge support for the proposals by speaking with colleagues, and has not yet stated when he will ask for panel approval.

Prison Overpopulation

Currently, there are 49,000 individuals imprisoned in Illinois’ correctional system, which was built to hold just 32,000. State prisons regularly house about 4,500 more inmates than they are suited to hold. The proposals outlined above, as well as other similar measures, take aim at those crimes that account for a large number of inmates in state prison. Not only would the measures allow for the reduction of the prison population, but would also pave the way for harsher penalties to be enforced for more serious crimes, such as gun offenses, something Zaleski also supports.

Not only does the overpopulation of prisons pose the realistic problem of space, but also the financial and budgetary problem of overspending on the prison system. Some estimate that the amount spent is about $1.3 billion – which is a great sum, but not even enough to adequately meet the needs of the inmates currently in the system.

Working out the Details

Zaleski refrained from describing the measure as the decriminalization of marijuana, the details of which are still being defined. He said it was more of a restructuring of the criminal justice system as it related to these offenses.

Even though the proposal has not been put into legislation yet, representatives from the narcotics bureau of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said those arrested for possession of about an ounce of marijuana would face a $250.00 fine for their first offense. Previously, they would have faced up to one year of incarceration. Possession crimes involving heroin, cocaine, or other drugs will have a three-year prison term associated with them instead of four.

Drug crimes can be serious offenses. It is beneficial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois to protect your rights. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation about your specific matter.

Back to Top Back to Top Back to Top